tv Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson ABC December 24, 2017 10:00am-10:30am EST
sharyl: is what you describe what some americans might call "the establishment"? rep. buck: absolutely. the "establishment" are the republican leadership and the democrat leadership getting along and pretending not to. sharyl: he was stunned, he says, to find the nrcc, the national republican congressional committee, just like its counterpart for democrats, requires hefty party dues. i've not heard another sitting member of congress talk about these things. rep. buck: i didn't come here to make friends and so if i'm gone in a couple of years, i did what i came to do and that's hopefully make americans aware that this place is broken. lisa: last september, nisa and kayla went missing. liz alvarado: we were looking so hard and we could not find her.
lisa: the students were both murdered by ms-13 members, who used machetes and bats. angel melendez: the individuals that are associated with ms-13, that we've been able to arrest, are all illegal immigrants. 30% of those came into the country as unaccompanied alien children. sen. grassley: the rise of unaccompanied children is very closely connected with the government not doing its job. pres. trump: i will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the united states. al martinez: i thought that was the end of his campaign. >> should muslims be fearful? al martinez: he wasn't talking about muslim americans, he was talking about people moving to the u.s. what news reporters nowadays tend to do, they try to give, "well, what is the worst possible interpretation i can give to the words i just heard?" [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. vit
♪ sharyl: hello. i'm sharyl attkisson. welcome to "full measure." today, we begin with an extraordinary interview with a sitting member of congress. it will make you mad, but it's something you should hear. republican ken buck is speaking out of school about the shocking, transactional nature of washington politics. about party elites he says, "live like kings and govern like bullies." and he's lifting the curtain on why he says nothing gets done in congress, describing collusion between democrats and republicans to fleece taxpayers on behalf of special interests. rep. ken buck: the game here is not to take a tough vote. nobody wants to take a tough vote, democrats and republicans, there's a quiet conspiracy going on that, "if you don't make me take a tough vote, i won't make you take a tough vote." sharyl: a "tough vote," says congressman ken buck of colorado, means anything that
benefit political and corporate interests. rep. buck: and the result is that the ability to cut federal programs, or to reduce spending in other ways, or to get our tax structure under control -- simplify the tax structure -- is very, very difficult. and that results in higher spending. sharyl: he says it's why congress consistently spends wildly more money than it receives from taxpayers -- $600 billion last year alone. why the federal debt has been allowed to balloon to record levels -- the u.s. owes about $20 trillion it doesn't have on hand. is there an element of that democrats and republicans may appear to disagree on some things in public and yet privately agree because sometimes they cater to the same interests? rep. buck: sure, i think democrats and republicans disagree on some social issues and make a big deal out of that, and disagree on some other major issues. but for the most part, there's
to make waves and to get things done quietly. not good things, but things that involve spending more money. if i scratch your back, you'll scratch my back. sharyl: is what you describe what some americans might call "the establishment"? rep. buck: absolutely. the "establishment" are the republican leadership and the democrat leadership getting along and pretending not to, but clearly getting along. sharyl: a former federal prosecutor, buck has been in congress less than three years. he says his education from washington, d.c.'s school of hard knocks began right after his election during his orientation trip to the capitol. rep. buck: and that's when a lot of the rules were explained to us about the dues to the nrcc and other requirements. ♪ sharyl: he was snn
republican congressional committee, just like its counterpart for democrats, requires hefty party dues, especially if members hope to aspire to meaningful positions. rep. paul ryan: talk about a record $30.1 million right here in this room. give yourself a big round of applause. [applause] rep. buck: it's mildly offensive to think that to serve on a committee in congress you need to pay a private political organization dues, and that's what they were asking for. sharyl: did you have any idea before you were elected that that was the case? rep. buck: i did not know that there were mandatory dues here, no. sharyl: how did they tell you? rep. buck: well, it's not a big secret. they have a big chart in the national republican congressional committee offices, and you can see everybody's name and the dues that they owe and how much they've paid. sharyl: what was going through your mind when you started to hear this news? rep. buck: well, as freshmen we have to raise $200,000 and that's a lot of money. you know, i just finished campaigning and raising money,
donors and ask them for money again. sharyl: buck reveals the unwritten rules and outlines the allegations in his book, "drain the swamp: how washington corruption is worse than you think." he says to meet fundraising quotas, members of congress spend hour upon hour of public work time asking for money from the very interests they're supposed to oversee, ending up beholden to them instead of the public at large. for people who really have no idea how things work up here, can you tell us how the special interests and corporate interests, for example, actually influence members? how does that happen? rep. buck: it starts with committee assignments. if you're on the transportation and infrastructure committee, the transportation bill will come before your committee and all over town there will be receptions and the members on the transportation committee will be invited to those receptions, expected to attend those receptions, and receive donations as a result of that. they know the easy money, the low-hanging fruit, is gonna be
at receptions that are given right before a major piece of legislation goes to committee. everything is called "across the street" because at the capitol behind me, you can't accept money there. you can't give money there, but once you walk across the street, then the bags open up. sharyl: restaurants around here? rep. buck: restaurants, the republicans, the capitol hill club has a lot of different receptions and dinners. sharyl: industries paying for those receptions and dinners include tobacco, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, tv broadcasting, beer and wine, defense, and hollywood. democrats have their own fundraising hangout nearby -- the national democratic club. rep. buck: i've attended receptions where i've had 10, 12 different corporations represented and they have made their case to me on why they need me to vote a certain way on a piece of legislation. and i know that if i accommodate them, i will have a reception later on where they
me. sharyl: you're describing an entire system where almost every consideration that ought to be for constituents is instead about special interests and corporate interests and donations. rep. buck: it surprised me when i got here and i've been involved in politics since i was a teenager, and getting to this place is really shocking. to see the influence that money has in politics. sharyl: early on, buck challenged gop leadership regarding a vote he felt would give president obama too much power on trade issues. republican leaders retaliated by trying to oust him as president of his freshman class. but he went on a public offensive and survived. he says he's watched colleagues get punished for doing what they think is right instead of what party bosses demand -- booted from committee positions and even denied dining room privileges. rep. buck: the incentive structure right now is to vote for more money. you never vote for less money, because someone's gonna get mad if you vote for less money. and so as long
demand that members of congress are accountable, congress will continue acting the way it does. sharyl: do you think a lot of the people come to washington really hoping it will be different and planning to work for their constituents, and just find out it can't be done? rep. buck: i absolutely think most members come here with the best intentions and i think, within a year or two, they realise there is no hope of changing this place and a lot of them leave fairly early on, others become disillusioned, and some others just settle into the swamp and enjoy it. sharyl: i've not heard another sitting member of congress talk about these things. what happens to you now because of this? rep. buck: you know, i didn't come here with any friends, sharyl, and i'm not going to leave here with any friends, and i'm okay with that. i didn't come here to make friends and so, if i'm gone in a couple of years, i did what came to do and that's hopefully make americans aware that this place is broken. sharyl: we contacted leadership of both parties in both the house and senate to hear their
recently called ms-13, "one of the most dangerous criminal operations in the u.s. today" and said it could be classified officially as a terrorist organization. lisa fletcher reports from a new epicenter of rising ms-13 violence. lisa: nisa mickens was 16 years old. she loved basketball and hanging out with her best friend, kayla cuevas. last september, nisa and kayla went missing. nisa's parents, robert mickens and liz alvarado, were desperate. liz alvarado: we were looking so hard, and we could not find her. lisa: after a police van drove past their house, they followed it. robert mickens: we came across another officer a few blocks away, we're looking for our daughter, and then he's like, "do you have a picture?" i was like "yeah, i have a picture." i showed him the picture and he looks at me, looks at liz, and goes, you know, "i'm sorry to tell you, but that's your daughter." lisa: the students were both murdered by ms-13 members, who used machetes and bats. since january 2016, the gang has been responsible for 21 deaths
-- 22 deaths on long island, inspiring a visit from president trump earlier this summer. pres. trump: they have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. they're animals. >> the purpose of the gang is take control of the town. take control of everything that's going on with drugs, trafficking, prostitution. lisa: this man spent seven years in ms-13 before he walked away, changing his appearance and his address to stay alive. he says the gang focuses on recruiting minors, especially those originally from central america. >> back in el salvador, what they do is they recruit young minors because young minors, as they get recruited and they commit a crime, they will be released, because they're minors. lisa: so how young are the kids they're targeting? >> i would say thirteen, fifteen years old. the younger, the better for them. lisa: long island is fertile
estimated 8000 central americans are here, part of a tidal wave of so-called unaccompanied minors who started pouring over the u.s. border in 2013, many of them fleeing gang violence back home. on long island, the minors are waiting on the courts to decide if they can stay in america or will be deported. while they wait, they are both prey and potential recruits for ms-13. angel melendez: they are very ruthless and aggressive in their recruitment tactics. lisa: angel melendez is the special agent in charge for homeland security investigations in new york. he is leading a new taskforce especially created to crack down on ms-13. since june, operation matador has made 153 arrests, including -- 186 arrests, including the six men responsible for killing nisa mickens and kayla cuevas.
lisa: is the explosion of unaccompanied minors in the u.s. leading to the rise of ms-13? angel melendez: of the operations that we are conducting in new york, particularly in new york, the individuals that are associated with ms-13 that we've been able to arrest in the last ten weeks are all illegal immigrants. 30% of those came into the country as unaccompanied alien children. lisa: melendez' team is finding some of the minors crossing the border are already affiliated with ms-13, but are being allowed to stay anyway. angel melendez: gang affiliation is not a grounds of inadmissibility by itself. an unaccompanied alien child can present themselves at the border to dhs authorities, and we would still be required to place them. sen. charles grassley: the rise of this activity and the rise of unaccompanied children is very closely connected with the government not doing its job. lisa: senator charles grassley chairs the judiciary committee that oversees the billion-dollar unaccompanied minor program.
he convened a hearing last june on the topic. is taxpayer money being well-spent on this resettlement program? sen. grassley: it's not being handled well because we find too large of a number of these kids ending up in that environment of gang activity. lisa: as operation matador continues to roll up ms-13 gang members, liz alvarado continues to stand watch at brentwood high school most afternoons. liz alvarado: i'm outside at 2:30. and i watch them walk all the way home, from where i sit. i want them to be safe. i want them to go home to their parents. sharyl: "ms" comes from mara salvatrucha -- a combination of gang, el salvador, and "street wise." u.s. taxpayers have already spent billions to care for all the unaccompanied minors surging the u.s. in recent years. so
38,000 minors have come in through the southwest border. coming up on "full measure" -- troubled times between the president and the media. you won't believe what one liberal college professor has to say. ♪ toyland, toyland ♪ little girl and boy land ♪ while you dwell within it ♪ you are ever happy there daddy, it's christmas! ♪ childhood's joy land never let go of your dreams. the mercedes-benz winter event is back. lease the glc300 for $449 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
sharyl: we in the news media are targets of a harsh critique for our treatment of donald trump from an unlikely source. he's a university of texas professor named alberto martinez. an ardent supporter of bernie sanders, martinez is no trump advocate, but he's writing a new book dissecting news reporting on the president and says fair is fair. prof. martinez: i was teaching a class in which i was talking about immigration. i was looking up for some news, but i kept reading articles where people mentioned, you know, that one time when trump said, "all mexicans are rapists." of course, when i went back and looked at it, i said, well that's not actually what he said. pres. trump: they're bringing drugs. they're bringing crime. they're rapists. and some, i assume, are good people. pr
that the difference between what he said and what the media was saying was so large. that dragged me down the rabbit hole. sharyl: you supported president obama? prof. martinez: yes. sharyl: and to be clear, you find much of what donald trump says distasteful. you disagree with it. prof. martinez: yes, many of it i disagree with, but i don't think that the guy wakes up in the morning trying to be hitler, or the devil, or the most evil man in the history of humanity, yet that is how the media portrayed him. rachel maddow: there was an america first committee that formed in this country, they were infiltrated by the nazis. many of them were anti-semitic, part of why they weren't alarmed by hitler's rise in germany. sharyl: you dissected the case in which president trump, then candidate, was accused of mocking a reporter who had a disability. pres. trump: now, the poor guy, you ought to see this guy, "ah, i don't know what i said, i don't remember." he's going, "i don't remember, maybe that's what i said." sharyl: what did you find? prof. martinez: i found ten separate occasions in which donald
both before the incident, and after the incident, by shaking and moving around. sharyl: people who weren't disabled. prof. martinez: people who were not disabled. pres. trump: when you see the president of the bank, i mention the word "regulator." what do you think about isis? isis is very tough. they were sent by russia. they said senator cruz, "what do you think of waterboarding?" prof. martinez: the media took an image, a moment in which donald trump's right hand happened to be bent at the wrist. they froze it. they compared it to the hand of a reporter that has arthrogryposis, and they acted that he was doing a stunning, spot-on imitation, when that's not what he was doing. and that's what he said he wasn't doing. so again, you can like him or dislike him, but you have to be fair. sharyl: you have said that donald trump says and does enough things that are legitimately open to criticism. prof. martinez: yes. sharyl: but, by the news media
cases, it undermines their credibility. prof. martinez: yes. so, for example, when donald trump called for a "ban on all muslim immigration." pres. trump: when i am elected, i will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the united states, europe, or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats. prof. martinez: i thought that was the end of his campaign. i thought it was awful. i thought it was bad. and so did countless many people. but then, how did the media portray it? the media portrayed it as if donald trump wanted to forcefully remove muslims from the u.s., have them wear badges on their shoulder, special marks on their id card. that he wanted to ban anyone from being a muslim in the u.s. >> should muslims be, i mean, fearful? will there be consequences if they don't register? prof. martinez: he specifically said, on the day that he made
about muslim americans. he wasn't talking about businessmen, sportsmen, heads of state. he was talking about people moving to the u.s. what news reporters nowadays tend to do, they try to give, "well, what is the worst possible interpretation i can give to the words i just heard?" and then say, "well, that's what he meant, because i've got a special talent known as dog whistles. i can hear dog whistles. and even though he didn't actually say what i think he said, he said that he hates all muslims and that he wants to remove all muslims from the u.s. because i've got a special talent for it." sharyl: do you think this phenomenon has resolved itself since donald trump was elected president? prof. martinez: i think it's resolved itself inasmuch as an increasing number of people are becoming increasingly immune to the terror that the media wants to portray on a daily basis. every tweet is the moment of a collapse of civilization, just because donald trump said it.
become immune to it, but the media itself has not yet changed. they learned nothing, and they have barely improved at all. and their mea culpas have been almost nonexistent. sharyl: professor martinez's book is called "the media versus the apprentice." much of it can be read online now. next on "full measure" -- a new case of egregious waste of your tax dollars in afghanistan. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ it all starts with a wish. the final days of wish list are here. hurry in and sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down and a complimentary first month's payment. what do you think? hey, think ben will like it?
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sharyl: in today's "follow the money," more maddening u.s. taxpayer waste in afghanistan. this time in a project intended to stem corruption. according to a report by the inspector general, $160 million u.s. tax dollars was spent on a failed program. it was supposed to switch customs collections to electronic payments from a cash system vulnerable to rampant fraud. the tax money was paid by the federal agency, the u.s. agency for international development , usaid, to a washington, d.c. company, chemonics. the goal was for 75% of custom duties to be e-payments by this november, but the ig found that eight years into the nine-year project, more than 99% of payments were still cash and usaid and chemonics continue to invest in an endeavor that appears to have no chance of achieving its intended outcome. usaid agreed with the ig's suggestion to have chemonics assess why it failed to achieve the goals. usaid stated that a root cause analysis was to have been completed by the end of august 2017. another "follow the money" trail leads back here to washington, and one of our favorite books.
"prime cut 2017" is from the watchdog citizens against government waste. it points out the pork in politics and sets a list of cuts congress and the white house could make to save over $336 billion. one enlightened saving -- eliminating the rural utilities service, a government program started during the great depression of the 1930's to bring electricity to rural communities. that goal was achieved decades ago, but the agency is still going and still spending your money. next week on "full measure," we're tracing what happened in 2011, when two immigration and customs enforcement agents were ordered to drive down a mexican highway. in a planned ambush, one agent was killed, the other was badly wounded. victor avila survived, but his career did not. victor: i never expected and i never felt entitled to any special treatment after being shot. all i wanted was to continue in my life and possibly my career.
from washington d.c. and around the world, this is "government matters" with francis rose. >> thanks for watching the weekend edition of "government matters." the only show covering the latest news, trends, and topics that matter to the business of government. i'm your host francis rose. the extra piece of the trump administration i.t. modernization plan that agencies will work with on the priorities. the first agency to sign on to work with the ceo is the department of agriculture. steve is the department secretary of agriculture. ste